HSE asks public to 'play its part' to prevent spread of flu
The latest figures show that the disease is actively circulating amongst the population.
The Health Service Executive of Ireland (HSE) has asked the public to help prevent the spread of flu, with the latest figures indicating that the disease is now actively circulating amongst Irish citizens.
The HSE is especially mindful that people in high-risk groups get vaccinated if they have yet to do so.
Figures issued by the HSE on Thursday for the week ending 8 December illustrate 37.5 flu cases per 100,000 population, a number above the baseline threshold of 18.1 cases per 100,000 used to assess influenza activity.
"The symptoms of influenza usually develop over a matter of a few hours and include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat," notes HSPC director John Cuddihy.
"This is different from the common cold, which tends to come on more gradually and usually includes a runny nose and a normal temperature.
“The flu vaccine is a safe and effective prevention measure against flu and it is provided free of charge for people in at risk groups, which includes everyone aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, anyone over six months of age with a long term illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes, cancer or those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment.
"The vaccine is also recommended for all healthcare workers to protect themselves and those they care for," Cuddihy added.
The HSE points out that the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect once received.
Anyone who gets the flu is advised to stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies such as paracetamol to ease symptoms.
"Anyone in one of the at-risk groups who develops flu symptoms or anyone who is not in an at-risk group, but whose flu symptoms are severe or getting worse, should contact their GP," the HSE statement adds.
"GPs may wish to prescribe antiviral medication for patients in these categories. If you need to visit your GP or the Emergency Department, please phone first to explain that you might have flu."
The HSE has also issued a short list of tips in order to help stop the spread of flu:
- Use a tissue and place it immediately in the bin. Wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser.
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
- Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands. You’ll end up spreading germs to everything you touch.